3 Tips for Supporting Staff During Breakup or Divorce


Everybody experiences heartbreak at some point; love and loss are natural parts of life. Our relationships, particularly romantic ones, write some of the most important chapters of our lives. When those relationships dissolve, there is a period where we're not quite ourselves, and everyone around us feels it. Unfortunately, whether meaning to or not, that heartbreak follows us to work no matter how much we pretend to be 'normal' from the hours of 9-5.

The UK's divorce rate floats around the 42% mark, quite a significant figure. In recent years, the divorce rate has fluctuated slightly; in 2022, the UK saw a 30% drop in divorces from the previous year; it is believed that the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act and court backlogs due to COVID impacted this.

Within the workplace, 23% of UK workers have used their leave allowances to take a break from work as a direct result of a split. Further to that, 60% admitted that the breakdown of a relationship impacted their job due to stress, depression and anxiety.

Supporting staff during breakup or divorce

Respect their privacy.

Relationship breakdowns are understandably delicate situations, and if you are trusted with this information, it is essential to establish a management plan. This plan should set out any relevant people who need to know about reasonable adjustments and ensure that permission is sought to disclose certain details. Further from the agreement, the details of a team member's circumstances should not be disclosed to anybody.

Be flexible as often as possible.

In some unfortunate cases, divorces can become nasty and lead to litigation. Your staff member may be required to attend appointments with their legal representative during work hours. In the worst cases, this can continue for months or even years. If possible, compromise on a schedule that suits the staff member and business. Your team member may also take a leave of absence to manage their immediate circumstances, parental duties, mental health or relocation.

Sometimes, flexibility can be as simple as finding them a new space in the workplace where they feel more comfortable and able to focus. Many people prefer to stay in their work during difficult times but just need minor adjustments to feel supported.

Advise them of access to resources and services.

If your company offers a wellness or employee assistance program (EAP), ensure your team members know about it and how to use it. Many EAPs include confidential counselling services that could help your team members steadily handle life, work, and future issues. If your company offers childcare support, this could make the difference between keeping and losing a valued team member.

Heartbreak may be a fact of life, but it does not have to have a lasting impact on the workplace. Staff members will always remember who was good to them in a hard time, and they will most likely go above and beyond as life improves. Showing compassion to a team member in a difficult time can boost morale, loyalty and retention.



Ché manages our marketing, communications and partnerships. She helps people find Leave Dates and make sure it is right for them. Her favourite weekly task is sending thank you messages to customers who review us.